Not only does Apex Legends’ Iron Crown event bring the much-vaunted solos mode, a significant map update, and some QoL updates, but it also introduces a tonne of new and exclusive cosmetics that players won’t be able to buy after the event concludes.
The cosmetics are quite lovely, a significant improvement from the almost embarrassingly bad skins Apex Legends Season 1’s Battle Pass provided. There’s not a single Legendary skin in the collection that isn’t worthwhile, expect for perhaps the strange Mirage one.
There’s a catch, though: they can only be found within loot boxes, which take the form of Iron Crown event packs. Even if you’re not familiar with Apex, the following mark-up in price is hard to ignore.
Traditional Apex Packs cost 150 Apex Coins, which can be earned (very occasionally) through grinding the Battle Pass or by purchasing them as microtransactions. 1000 Apex Coins, which is the lowest amount you can purchase, costs £7.99/$9.99 with there being increasingly expensive options from there on. You will get six Apex Packs for your minimum investment with some coins left over.
Iron Crown Apex Packs, on the other hand, cost a great deal more at 700 Apex Coins, meaning that you will only get one Iron Crown pack from the lowest possible spend. That’s almost a 400% increase in asking price with you getting 83% fewer packs for your money.
To make matters even murkier, the packs are still loot boxes with there being every chance you won’t be able to get the one item you want. The game promises a 50% chance of either a Legendary or Epic item per pack, but also pads them out somewhat cheekily with a currency for the event. There’s a separate shop with some less attractive seasonal items available, which you can only purchase with the special currency earned from opening Iron Crown packs.
If you want to get everything included as part of the Iron Crown event, a Redditor by the name of HerpMcHerp has discovered that it will cost you $140. This is excluding the Bloodhound heirloom skin, which will cost you an additional $40 for 3500 Apex Coins and can only be purchased after all Iron Crown items are (randomly) unlocked. There are plenty of other dissenting voices on the subreddit who recognise that the spend is an excess, and one that is entirely dependent on RNG, too. One Redditor summed it up pretty well.
The case could be made for Respawn and EA that these items are cosmetic only, but everything about it screams of trying to instil FOMO in the playerbase and further create a culture around loot boxes, and therefore gambling. The minimum spend for Apex Coins means you will have 300 left over, which then incentivises you to make another purchase as you will “only” have to spend 400 the next time.
In the interest of disclosure, I purchased one of these Iron Crown packs (I know, sorry, but it was for research) and only received two pointless Epic items, one Legendary skin for a bad gun, and Crowns for items that didn’t hold a candle to the ones found in the Iron Crown Apex Packs. It’s truly not worth it.
While Apex Legends’ newfound commitment to adding new content and keeping the game fresh is admirable, taking the Overwatch method for limited-time packs and dialling them up to 100 for monetisation isn’t the solution.
“Even the most jaded of battle royale fans will find their interest rejuvenated by Apex Legends thanks to Respawn’s attention to detail, superior gunplay, and fantastic innovations, though the loot boxes and progression system certainly need addressing.”